There are four weeks to go to the in house summer exams. The first years are scheduled for a 1 hour 30 minutes science exam. From previous experience, and with the opportunities of the new specification, I wished to avoid unnecessary stress and build up to a 100% exam. I dedicated this class to reviewing our Learning Outcomes (LO's) from first year and allowing space for student voice and democracy in the assessment for and of learning as we near the end of term.
At the beginning of the year, we stuck in the LO's of the science specification. In pairs, I asked them to review all the LO's and highlight which LO's they believed they had learning experiences in this past academic year. The students really engaged in this and it was very interesting to see them relate their experiences with the LO's. In particular, this was interesting the context of the LO's we chose for First year, the learning experiences I planned to conduct in the teaching and learning episodes and finally, the actual experiences of the students as learners. There are two LO's which I have not done yet....the students were very quick to spot these two! They highlighted the following LO's:
NATURE OF SCIENCE
EARTH AND SPACE
As a teacher, I was making a huge effort towards active, democratic, student based learning experiences. This is very demanding and it can also be frantic at times, especially with single classes. From my experience this year, I strongly believe that 80 minutes class, at least twice a week, are necessary to allow the space for facilitating student led learning. The students reminded me of the learning activities we did for each LO. They were able to remember all the enquiry activities related to each LO. There is also evidence of their learning in their homeowrk task and scrapbook reflections. I am going to post a link to my each blog post that corresponds with each LO above. This may help teachers planning for the 201/2018 first year in take.
There were two additional LO's that they have not experienced learning episodes for yet.
Students worked in groups of three to decide on the tasks for assessment. They used the A0 whiteboards and they came up with a variety of assessments. The predominant view was that they wanted a practical exam, worth at least 60%. I also asked them to look at their calender and to consider suitable dates for assessment and submission. We edited the assessment plan on the large whiteboard with input and reviews from all groups. We came up with the following assessment plan to represent our year long learning.
50% Practical Exam - 80 minutes on Wednesday 17th may 2017. The students will design an experimental investigation to be conducted in the 80 minutes. The students will formulate a scientific hypothesis, plan and conduct an experimental investigation to test this hypotheses, generate and analyse primary data, and reflect on the process. The students will submit the report by email before the 20th May 2017.
10 % Reflection Task - 1000 words - The students will reflect on my knowledge, skills and understanding using scientific terminology. The students can type, write or voice record my reflection. The students will email this to my teacher. This is due on May 23 rd 2017.
20% In-Class test - 80 minutes, Wednesday 24th May 2017. The teacher will create action verb questions based on the learning experiences recorded in the student scrapbooks. Students can write, type or orally record their answers to the questions. Students will draw and label all diagrams.
20% Summer Exam - 90 minutes, week beginning 29th May 2017. The students will submit questions based on the knowledge, skills and values of the Learning Outcomes. The students will use the action verbs to create the questions. Each student will submit 5 questions. There will be a total of 100 questions submitted. The teacher will chose 30 of these questions for the exam.
The students were very happy that they could contribute to this process. I think that this reduced unnecessary stress and it allowed the students autonomy for their own learning. They now have the scaffolding to continue to be independent learners over the next four weeks, without the stress of the unknown. I think this approach gives the students ownership of their learning and it also caters for a variety of learning styles.